Ornamental Fish

Freshwater Ornamental Fish (Don’t dump that fish!)

Keeping “ornamental” fish as pets in aquaria or garden ponds is becoming an increasingly popular pastime in NSW. Many hundreds of fish species, both native and exotic are sold for this purpose by aquarium suppliers. Keeping ornamental fish is a great hobby for people of all ages, however it is important to make sure your aquarium and its inhabitants remain happy, healthy and contained. When keeping fish, it’s also important to make sure living things in your aquarium or pond are kept away from waterways. Most of the fish, snails and plants you keep are not native to your local area or to Australia.

800px-GoldfishesFreshwater ecosystems like Still Creek, Berowra Creek and the Hawkesbury River are very vulnerable to invasion by introduced animals and weeds. Since European settlement many exotic fish have been accidentally or deliberately released into NSW waterways and some of them have become widespread pests. Once established, aquatic pests can be very difficult, if not impossible to eradicate. The potential impacts of pest fish include competition with native species for food and habitat as well as predation and the introduction of disease. For this reason, aquarium fish, snails or aquatic plants should NEVER be released or disposed of into the wild and outdoors facilities such as ponds should be designed so that fish cannot escape or be washed out during heavy rain. Any unwanted aquarium fish should be given to a pet shop or friend, or disposed of humanely.

For example, Gambusia are now listed as a key ‘threatening species’ by the Department of Environment and Climate Change because of their impacts on native frogs. Some exotic aquarium species which have now established wild populations in NSW include Carp, Redfin Perch, Eastern Gambusia, Oriental Weatherloach, Banded Grunter, Goldfish and various freshwater weeds such as Salvinia, Cabomba and Alligator weed. Even species that occur naturally in another part of Australia can cause problems if introduced into an area outside their natural range eg. banded grunter.

Don’t transfer fish between waterways and never dump or release fish into the wild for any reason. For further information on this subject have a look at http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/pests-diseases/freshwater-pests/ornamental-fish